For first-time home buyers, the process of buying a house can seem stressful and time-consuming. As one of the country’s most affordable places to live, Kansas City, Missouri is a great option for prospective homeowners.
Although it may seem tempting to buy the first house you can afford, planning properly and taking your time can help you find your dream home. With that in mind, here are some things to consider when buying a home in Kansas City.
Start researching early
Before buying a home, it’s important to research real estate listings early in order to learn how the local market works. To start, try finding a few homes you’re interested in: make a note of how long these homes stay on the market, as well as changes between asking and selling prices. This will help you learn a general sense of housing trends in specific areas.
Along with the housing market, you should begin assessing your current financial situation to determine how much you can afford to spend on a house. Lenders recommend that prospective home buyers look for homes that cost less than three to five times their annual household income.
However, it’s crucial to determine how much you’re willing to spend based on your own financial situation. If you’re not sure where to start, try an online affordability calculator or talk to a financial advisor.
Get prequalified and preapproved for a mortgage
Next, you need to find out how much you’re actually able to spend on monthly mortgage payments. The best way to calculate monthly payments on a mortgage is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, speak to a mortgage banker about your current household income, savings, and investments.
Since each home buyer has different priorities when choosing a mortgage, make sure to talk to your mortgage banker about your needs. While some home buyers want low monthly payments, others pick loans based on the knowledge that they’ll move again in a few years.
You can also search for mortgage rates online with a simple Google search like “mortgage rates Kansas City”. Shopping for mortgage rates online can help you secure a better rate than your bank has to offer. In addition, online applications make the process of being prequalified and preapproved for a mortgage loan simple.
Keep in mind that a higher credit score and older credit history can secure you a lower interest rate, so first-time homeowners may want to consider co-signing with a parent.
Hire a real estate agent
Finding the right real estate agent can help save you time, money, and peace of mind when it comes to buying your first home. Real estate agents are experienced with the housing market and can provide you with information on homes that isn’t available online. Your real estate agent’s knowledge of the home buying process and familiarity with the local market can help you find your dream home.
Now that you’re familiar with the process of buying a home, it’s time to start searching for homes in your price range. It’s important to remember that it’s normal to tour several houses before finding the right one, and taking notes on each home you visit can help when making a final decision.
When touring each home, make sure to analyze smaller details. Testing the plumbing, the electrical system, and locks on doors and windows can save you the hassle of fixing them after buying a home. Additionally, be sure to take note of the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
Although the process of buying a house can seem overwhelming, following these tips can help eliminate stress and save money when buying your first home.